How to Choose a Medical Assistant Program in Crescent Georgia
Once you have made a decision to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Crescent GA, it’s time to select a school that will furnish the proper training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are very important, such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors as well. You might want to research a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the colleges you are examining. And to assist you with that task, we have furnished some questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your short list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the responsibilities of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are available.
The Duties of a Medical Assistant
The job of a medical assistant can be varied as well as challenging. Primarily their function is ensure that the Crescent GA hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work operate efficiently. Depending on the size or type of facility, they may be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller facilities both. They are responsible for giving direct support to the nurses, doctors and other health professionals but may also be found performing duties in an office or at the front desk. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Weighing and taking patients vital signs
- Taking blood and other fluid and tissue samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Providing general support during examinations and procedures
While Crescent GA medical assistants may perform almost any duty they are qualified to under Georgia law, some prefer to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the choices offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training Programs and Certification
In contrast to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Crescent GA employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we’ll cover accreditation later ) that are certified. There are generally two options available for a formal education. The first and quickest way to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to earn an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at junior and community colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more extensive in nature than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They usually have a practical element requiring an internship with a local medical facility. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is a good idea for those who wish to boost their careers. It will not only help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also enhance preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Crescent GA employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To qualify to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Other certifications are offered as well, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are many accredited medical assistant programs offered online as well. They are an excellent option for individuals who might not have time to go to classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full-time while earning their degree or certificate. As an extra benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on campus alternatives. Ancillary costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies might be lessened also. Just keep in mind that any requirements for practical training or internships must still be fulfilled, but they can often be performed in area Georgia medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of participating in supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of getting your training might be the best option for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant in Crescent GA is provided.
Concerns to Ask Medical Assistant Colleges
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant school alternatives, you have to decide which kind of credential you would like to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on campus near Crescent GA or online from home. Once those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the cheapest tuitions. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you need to explore when assessing Georgia schools. To assist you with that process, below are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are many great reasons to ensure that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged agencies for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you anticipate obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of prospective Crescent GA employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited program.
What is the Program’s Passing Percentage? Most of the accredited Crescent GA area medical assistant colleges design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you must learn which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will want to select a program targeting that certification. Second, learn what the program’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is just one of the methods to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Of course programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Available? As we previously covered, there are basically two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and receive entry level training in the fastest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can decide to earn an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will require about 2 years to complete in a community college or trade school. Whatever program you decide to pursue, make certain that the Crescent GA area schools you are considering offer the kind of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous Georgia medical assistant schools offer internship programs with regional medical providers. They are an excellent method to obtain hands-on practical experience and training. They may also assist students build relationships within the Crescent GA medical community. And as an added perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews as well.
Is Job Placement Service Furnished? Getting that initial job can be a challenging task for medical assistant school graduates unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a higher job placement rate for its students, it affirms that it has a good reputation within the medical community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of employers in the Crescent GA area to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classrooms? Class size can be an indication of how much personal instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to teachers and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a couple of classes before choosing a school in the Crescent GA area to experience what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s imperative that the school you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Crescent GA, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any internships or practical training that might be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Training in Crescent GA
It’s imperative to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant school that will furnish the proper training. Whether you’re planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your life long career, you must get the right information on available programs before making your decision. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a selection based upon your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have addressed in this article, confirm that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized agency, such as the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you anticipate taking the CMA certification exam. But regardless of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have decided to attend either an online or on-campus school, don’t forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Crescent GA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask candidates is "What drove you to pick medical assistance as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to medical assisting, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional medical assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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